A Student of Christian Science was troubled with a problem that did not readily yield to the spiritual truth, which he had learned in Christian Science, that perfect God creates perfect man. He prayed earnestly that God would reveal to him the spiritual lesson he needed to learn and was led to study carefully the Lord's Prayer (Matt. 6:9—13). He saw that in this prayer Christ Jesus began by realizing the perfection of God: "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name." Next, discerning that a perfect God must create and maintain a perfect universe, the Way-shower declared: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."
Then the Master came to "us," to the individual: "Give us this day our daily bread." The student was awakened to see that instead of following the pattern of Jesus' prayer, he had been declaring the perfection of God and the perfection of individual man, neglecting to know the truth about man collectively, or God's full manifestation, which includes all of God's ideas. He determined to follow the Lord's Prayer explicitly by devoting a period of time to meditating on the nature of God; then a period to apprehending the true universe, God's kingdom; and then he would come to the individual.
In contemplating the nature of God, the student turned to page 465 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, and studied the definition of Deity: "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." He endeavored as never before to hallow in his thought these seven definitive terms for our heavenly Father, the supreme and infinite Being, and to gain a deeper realization of the significance of each one.
He had not proceeded far when a sense of self-interest sought to enter his thought, arguing that he should now try to see himself as manifesting the spiritual qualities of God. He vigorously answered this, declaring, "I have the divine right to think uninterruptedly about God." Three times he had to silence this sense of self clamoring for recognition, in order that he might completely revere our heavenly Father.
The student then spent some time contemplating the one and only perfect universe, which God creates and maintains. He saw that since creation is the perfect reflection of God, it can contain no quality unlike Him. It must therefore be a universe of Love, in which is no hatred, resentment, or revenge. On page 340 of Science and Health we read: "Divine Love is infinite. Therefore all that really exists is in and of God, and manifests His love."
After he had through spiritual sense discerned something of the universe of Love, he saw that this eternal universe includes no mistakes, flaws, or inharmony, for God's creation manifests only the nature of Truth. The student expressed devout gratitude for every proof of this fact he had ever witnessed. It now unfolded to him that since creation is not material, but the expression of Soul, it reflects beauty, harmony, and freedom. He saw further that the spiritual universe, the only universe, is not one of chaos, chance, and confusion, but expresses Principle, law, and order.
He next realized that God's universe is the manifestation of divine Life, wherein is not the slightest suggestion of death. He knew that no one and no thing had ever died in this divine universe, for the manifestation of God expresses Life. How clear it was that God's world is not an ignorant or stupid one, but rather the creation of intelligence and wisdom! Since God is Spirit, infinite Mind, it necessarily follows that His creation must be spiritual and unlimited.
When the student finally turned his thought to his own true selfhood, he discovered that he was free. It logically follows that since the whole manifestation of God is perfect, each individual manifestation must necessarily share the nature of the whole.
Many today are trying to be harmonious, healthy, free, and perfect in spite of the imperfect universe in which they live. This just cannot be done if they are accepting as reality the concept of an imperfect material universe subject to sin, sickness, and death. It is like trying to preserve a good apple in a barrel of rotten ones—a difficult task. But to preserve a good apple in a barrel of good apples is no task. Man has no difficulty in being perfect in God's kingdom of heaven, because man eternally expresses God, good. We all need to uplift our concept of the universe until we see it as it really is—God-made, absolute, and perfect. Then we shall understand that in truth we are individually perfect, free, and whole, not in spite of something called material belief, but because of the everywhere presence of God, good.
When we are trying to be perfect in spite of the beliefs of false theology, materia medica, or malpractice that may claim to be all around us, we may be sincere in our efforts to manifest individual perfection, but we shall never succeed until we deny and reverse the lie of an imperfect world round about and acknowledge the perfection of God and His spiritual universe and man as reality. We must realize the truth as given by our Leader on page 473 of the textbook, "God is everywhere, and nothing apart from Him is present or has power." When you and I try to be good Christian Scientists in spite of the wrong thinking of a member of our family, a neighbor, or a fellow church member, we are making a reality of discord because we are seeing man as a mortal, thus imperfect, instead of realizing that man is immortal, harmonious, and perfect.
Trying to be perfect in spite of this so-called evil world of ours is like endeavoring to pull oneself out of the mud with one's own bootstraps. One may think at times that he is making progress, but while believing that life and intelligence are in matter he constantly feels the downward pull of the dead weight of materialism. How important it is in one's treatment intelligently to realize that actually there is no weight of materiality and error because in the universe of Spirit and Truth are the inspiration and enlightenment of spiritual reality! Actually there is no evil for man to pull himself out of, since God is All-in-all and contains man. We consequently discover that, as God's idea, we can demonstrate our God-given dominion over materiality, and in doing so we also help to break the dream of error in the experience of others.
False theology teaches that we should strive to be good in a wicked world, but that we cannot hope to attain the goal of perfection. Jesus said, however (Matt. 5:48), "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." He knew that we can demonstrate man's perfection here and now, because the kingdom of heaven, which he taught is at hand, is in truth the eternal home for each one of us.
Some may be trying to be perfect in spite of a handicap and wondering why the handicap does not disappear. Are they not by such thinking making a reality of matter? Realizing that his true selfhood is perfect not in spite of something, but because of the allness of God, in which there are no handicaps, he will more readily demonstrate the nothingness of the so-called handicap.
Students should beware of entertaining a sense of fortitude which virtually declares, Error is here, but I shall bear up under it or win in spite of it. True courage, which comprehends the infinitude of God, good, says, There is in reality no evil to bear up under or triumph over, no evil to think of as an obstacle to be overcome and referred to as "in spite of," for God is forever All-in-all. Egotism boasts, I shall be perfect in spite of the shortcomings of others. Humility realizes, I am perfect because perfection is eternally the status of each and all of God's children. True humility always heals.
The world stands in need of true Christians who will devote spiritual energy to uplifting in consciousness not only the concept of spiritual man, but also the concept of the spiritual universe in which man lives. As we pray daily with deep sincerity to realize the perfectness of God, His universe, and His man, we are helping to silence the suggestion of wars and rumors of wars, and we make it easier to see, understand, and demonstrate the perfect man of God's creating.
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